Fabio Quartararo stretched his lead at the top of the MotoGP standings on Sunday with a controlled victory at the British Grand Prix.

Having qualified third at Silverstone, the Monster Energy Yamaha rider surged to the front early on and led superbly to claim an 18th podium finish in the top category, level with Christian Sarron for the most achieved by a Frenchman.

Quartararo has finished in the points for 13 consecutive races – surpassing the previous career high of 12 that he achieved in MotoGP2 in 2018 – and he now leads the championship by 65 points from Joan Mir, who climbed to second.

Valentino Rossi, chasing a double-century of podium finishes and a fifth in six races at Silverstone, finished down in 16th.

This race has turned into one dominated by Spanish riders, who have won six of the most recent 10, but the chasing cohort could not put French star Quartararo under enough pressure in overcast conditions in Northamptonshire.

Brothers Pol and Aleix Espargaro were locked in a tussle for first from the off as the former fought determinedly to avoid a third-straight outing without a points finish, something he last endured three years ago.

However, once Quartararo put his extra pace to good use on lap five and built a three-second advantage, the leader never looked under threat.

Alex Rins, winner of this race in 2019, picked off Pol Espargaro on lap eight and took second, but Suzuki Ecstar team-mate Mir could not do likewise and eventually limped through in ninth.

Aprilia celebrated their first MotoGP podium as Aleix Espargaro just held off the challenge of Jack Miller for third, the Australian at least collecting points at the British GP for just the second time.

It proved an historic race as, for the first time in MotoGP, there were six different manufacturers in the top six.

TOP 10

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha)  
2. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +2.663s
3. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +4.105s
4. Jack Miller (Ducati) +4.254s
5. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +8.462s
6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +12.189s
7. Iker Lecuona (Tech 3 KTM) +13.560s
8. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda) +14.044s
9. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +16.226s
10. Danilo Petrucci (Tech 3 KTM) +16.287s

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 206
2. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 141
3. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 137
4. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 136
5. Jack Miller (Ducati) 118

Teams

1. Monster Energy Yamaha 301
2. Ducati 254
3. Pramac Racing 205
4. Suzuki Ecstar 205
5. Red Bull KTM 199

Pol Espargaro will hope to be celebrating at the end of Sunday's British Grand Prix, yet the Spaniard already feels like a winner after surprising even himself by claiming pole position.

Espargaro had arrived at Silverstone after struggling in the previous two rounds of the MotoGP season in Austria, failing to score any points by recording successive 16th-place finishes.

However, the 30-year-old belied his recent lack of form with a stunning qualifying performance, securing his first pole for Repsol Honda as he squeezed out Francesco Bagnaia by just 0.022 seconds.

Jorge Martin initially appeared to have set a new fastest lap in the closing stages of the final session, only for his time to be wiped out after it was discovered he had cut the Vale chicane. He will instead start from fourth position.

Championship leader Fabio Quartararo will begin from third, but this was a memorable day for Espargaro as he looks to get back scoring points again, having not gone three in a row without collecting something since he was at KTM in 2018.

"Yeah, it's a little bit shocking after how tough Austria was, how we've been able to come back here," Espargaro said in his post-qualifying interview.

"It's difficult to believe, but there are different ways to take these bad moments – in a sad way, or in an angry way. We opted to take the second option.

"I tried to be every day a little bit better. I’ve been working so much, but unluckily the results were not coming.

"Here, everything is coming much easier. Sure, the track, the weather is cold, the extra grip we have in this track gives me the feelings, I have to apply my riding style and maybe to forget a little the problems we have in the pit box with the bike.

"Also, this place has been good to Honda in the past years, so let's enjoy today. Today this pole felt like a victory."

Quartararo admitted the choice of soft tyres had initially caused him some issues on Saturday, though he was happy enough after a switch helped him achieve his target in qualifying.

"Today I've been struggling so much with the soft tyre," the Frenchman, who is the only MotoGP rider to claim points in every race so far this season, told the media. "I was not feeling great on the bike, but with the medium tyre I was immediately feeling better.

"I was struggling so much in acceleration. The main goal was to be on the front row, and we will not touch anymore the soft tyre. I’m happy about my pace – and also the tyres."

Marc Marquez and Aleix Espargaro join Martin on the second row, while Valentino Rossi, who has finished on the podium in four of his five most recent appearances at the British GP, ended up in eighth, sandwiched between Jack Miller and Johann Zarco.

Joan Mir, meanwhile, has work to do from 11th place. The reigning world champion sits level with Bagnaia in second place in the standings on 134 points, 47 adrift of leader Quartararo.

Mercedes have revealed Lewis Hamilton would have been forced to retire from the British Grand Prix were it not for a timely red flag.

Formula One title rivals Hamilton and Max Verstappen collided during a sensational first lap at Silverstone.

Hamilton was handed a 10-second time penalty that he disagreed with but Red Bull argued was not severe enough.

The Briton recovered to record a famous race win, while Verstappen ended up in hospital for checks after a 51G impact with the tyre barrier.

It meant Hamilton cut Verstappen's lead to just eight points in the drivers' championship.

But the outcome would have been very different had the race not been red-flagged to repair the barrier, as Hamilton would not have been able to continue without the opportunity to repair damage to his wheel rim.

"We'd failed the rim where we'd had the contact on the front-left, so that would have been a DNF had it not been red-flagged," said Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin.

"The rest of the damage was actually remarkably little. A tyre temperature sensor had got knocked loose, so it was waggling around, but amazingly, it's the least important part on the front wing."

Hamilton passed Charles Leclerc for a famous victory – his eighth at his home race – with two laps to go.

"From our planners' view in the race, who were forecasting it live, we were looking at catching [Leclerc] up with two laps to go," added Shovlin.

"When we thought it was on I'd say was five laps into that [push]. You normally see the drop on the tyres, but you could just see Lewis holding this eight-tenths advantage to Charles every lap.

"And to be honest with Lewis, you can hear it in his voice and in what he's saying on the radio; you just get this switch where he knows in his head he's going to do it."

FIA race director Michael Masi – who was bombarded on radio with messages from Mercedes and Red Bull stating their case during the controversy – felt the stewards had got Hamilton's penalty right.

Masi insisted the severity of any crash, an injury to a driver or the race situation are factors that cannot be taken into account when applying punishments.

"Looking at the incident, I agree with the stewards and the penalty they applied," Masi said.

"I think the wording was clear as per the regulations, [Hamilton] was 'predominantly to blame', not 'wholly to blame' for it.

"He could have tucked in further like what happened with Charles later on and that may have changed the outcome, but we don't know – we have to judge on the incident itself.

"One of the big parts [of stewarding] that has been a mainstay for many, many years [is] that you should not consider the consequences in an incident.

"So when you judge incidents, they judge the incident itself, the merits of the incident and not what happens after as a consequence.

"The stewards have been advised to do from the top down – and I'm talking team involvement and so forth.

"That's the way the stewards judge it, because if you start taking consequences into it, there are so many variables rather than judging the incident itself."

Red Bull have said they are "disgusted and saddened" to see their on-track Formula One rival Lewis Hamilton targeted by online racist abuse.

Formula 1, the FIA and Mercedes released a joint statement on Monday condemning the "unacceptable" abuse aimed at Hamilton following his collision with Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton claimed a dramatic victory in Sunday's home race at Silverstone after overtaking Charles Leclerc towards the end.

Red Bull were unhappy with Hamilton over an incident which contributed to them scoring zero points, but they were unequivocal in their stance on the racist abuse he has received as a result.

"While we may be fierce rivals on-track, we are all united against racism," Red Bull wrote.

"We condemn racist abuse of any time towards our team, our competitors and our fans.

"As a team we are disgusted and saddened to witness the racist abuse Lewis received yesterday [Sunday] on social media after the collision with Max.

"There is never any excuse for it, there is certainly no place for it in our sport and those responsible should be held accountable."

McLaren also issued a message of support for their former driver Hamilton, urging all teams to unite and eliminate racism.

The team said: "McLaren stands with Formula 1, the FIA, and our fellow teams and drivers in condemning the deplorable racist abuse towards Lewis Hamilton.

"Racism must be driven out of our sport, and it’s our shared responsibility to unite and eliminate it."

McLaren CEO Zak Brown added in a Twitter post: "Totally unacceptable racist abuse of Lewis Hamilton. These people do not represent F1 fans or our sport. We must come together to get rid of this disgraceful abuse and racism."

The race was a memorable one, with Hamilton recovering from a 10-second time penalty handed to him for the first-lap Verstappen crash as he cut his title rival's championship lead to only eight points.

Hamilton was accused of "dirty driving" by Red Bull boss Christian Horner after clipping Verstappen on Copse Corner, while the Belgian-born Dutch driver labelled his opponent "disrespectful and unsportsmanlike".

Verstappen required hospital checks after hitting the safety barriers in an impact measuring 51G, but he was released later on Sunday after being given the all-clear.

In the aftermath of his controversial but famous victory, Hamilton was subjected to vile racist abuse on Instagram in the comments section of a post by Mercedes celebrating the win.

Formula 1, the FIA and Mercedes have released a joint statement condemning the "unacceptable" online racist abuse aimed at Lewis Hamilton following his collision with Max Verstappen.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton claimed a dramatic victory in Sunday's home British Grand Prix at Silverstone after overtaking Charles Leclerc late in the race.

The 36-year-old recovered from a 10-second time penalty handed to him for a first-lap crash with Verstappen as he cut his title rival's championship lead to only eight points.

Hamilton was accused of "dirty driving" by Red Bull boss Christian Horner after clipping Verstappen on Copse Corner, while the Belgian-born Dutch driver labelled his opponent "disrespectful and unsportsmanlike".

Verstappen required hospital checks after hitting the safety barriers in an impact measuring 51G, but he was released later on Sunday after being given the all-clear.

After Hamilton went on to win the race for an eighth time in his illustrious career, the Englishman was subjected to vile racist abuse on Instagram in the comments section of a post by Mercedes celebrating the victory.

Mercedes, Formula 1 and the sport's governing body the FIA united on Monday to call for action to be taken against those responsible for posting the racial slurs.

"During, and after, yesterday's British Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was subjected to multiple instances of racist abuse on social media following an in-race collision," the statement read.

"Formula 1, The FIA and Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team condemn this behaviour in the strongest possible terms. These people have no place in our sport and we urge that those responsible should be held accountable for their actions. 

"Formula 1, the FIA, the drivers and the teams are working to build a more diverse and inclusive sport, and such unacceptable instances of online abuse must be highlighted and eliminated."

Hamilton recently voiced his support for Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho after the England footballers were also subjected to racist abuse on social media after missing penalties in their side's Euro 2020 final shoot-out defeat to Italy.

The England international trio called on social media giants Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to do more to tackle problem users on their platforms.

Speaking last year, Hamilton also called for increased diversity in Formula 1 and accused the sport of not doing enough to tackle racism amid the George Floyd protests.

Max Verstappen accused Lewis Hamilton of being "disrespectful and unsportsmanlike" after Sunday's dramatic British Grand Prix.

The title rivals collided during a sensational first lap at Silverstone, and while Hamilton finished top of the podium, Verstappen ended up in hospital.

Verstappen had his championship lead trimmed to eight points by Hamilton's success, which came despite the Mercedes man incurring a 10-second penalty for his part in Verstappen's Red Bull leaving the track and ending in a crumpled heap at Copse Corner.

Hamilton served that time and went on to catch long-time leader Charles Leclerc in the closing laps, celebrating excitedly on the podium as home fans lapped up the Brit's eighth victory in the race.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner accused Hamilton of "dirty driving" within minutes of the crash, later telling Channel 4 that the punishment of the reigning world champion did not "fit the crime".

Hamilton defended himself afterwards and said Verstappen was a "very aggressive" driver, insisting he had not been at fault for the clash of wheels that sent the Dutchman spinning into the barriers.

But Verstappen, who was taken to hospital for checks after being left badly winded by his high-speed crash, took aim at the British driver.

Verstappen wrote on Twitter: "Glad I’m ok. Very disappointed with being taken out like this. The penalty given does not help us and doesn't do justice to the dangerous move Lewis made on track.

"Watching the celebrations while still in hospital is disrespectful and unsportsmanlike behaviour but we move on."

Later on Sunday evening, Hamilton tweeted his own take on events, saying he was glad the 23-year-old was not badly injured.

"Today is a reminder of the dangers in this sport. I send my best wishes to Max who is an incredible competitor. I'm glad to hear he is ok," Hamilton wrote.

"I will always race hard but always fairly. My team showed grit and perseverance out there."

Horner disputed Hamilton's post-race claim that he had been "fully alongside" Verstappen when their cars collided.

"He was not significantly alongside Max as you can see from the point of contact, Lewis' front left to Max's right rear," Horner said in a Red Bull statement.

"The move was never on and resulted in a 51G impact for Max. We are in contact with Max and Jos [Verstappen, his father] and will provide an update later."

Lewis Hamilton closed the gap on championship leader Max Verstappen to eight points, but was accused of "dirty driving" after a stunning first-lap crash between the title rivals at the British Grand Prix.

An eighth triumph in his home race for Hamilton came after he passed the Ferrari of long-time leader Charles Leclerc on the 50th of the 52 laps, but it was a highly controversial victory. Leclerc took second place, with Valtteri Bottas third.

The scathing remark about Hamilton's driving at the start of the race came from Verstappen's Red Bull boss Christian Horner, who was furious with the seven-time Formula One drivers' champion.

Pole-sitter Verstappen and Hamilton, second on the grid, came close to making contact before they finally did so at Copse Corner. Hamilton was looking to overtake Verstappen on the inside, but clipped the Red Bull driver's right rear wheel.

The tyre came flying off and Verstappen's car went crashing across the gravel and into the barriers at high speed, crumpling badly. Verstappen was able to walk away, but was said by Horner to be "massively winded".

It caused the race to be red-flagged, with a delay of around 40 minutes before the grand prix resumed, Mercedes star driver Hamilton served with a 10-second penalty.

Hamilton's reaction to the crash had been to declare on team radio: "I was ahead going in there, man. He turned in on me, man. I gave that guy space."

But Red Bull team principal Horner was livid, describing the punishment as "pretty light" and telling Channel 4: "I think it was a desperate move. Copse is one of the fastest corners in the world, you don't stick a wheel up the inside, that's just dirty driving."

Hamilton came in for his time penalty just after halfway through the 52-lap race, returning to the track behind Leclerc, Mercedes team-mate Bottas and Lando Norris of McLaren.

Hamilton surged past Norris at Copse to climb to third place, before Mercedes told their drivers to switch positions with 11 laps remaining. Leclerc was suddenly under huge threat, Hamilton driving exceptionally well and bringing down the Ferrari driver's lead to barely one second with three laps remaining.

He got past at Copse, ironically, as Leclerc ran wide, and was roared home by the British fans.

Lewis Hamilton was accused of "dirty driving" by Red Bull boss Christian Horner after a first-lap collision put Max Verstappen out of the British Grand Prix.

A breathtaking start to the race culminated in title rivals Hamilton and Verstappen making contact at Copse Corner.

Verstappen was sent spinning off the track and into the barriers, with his car left in a crumpled heap.

The championship leader was able to walk away from the wreckage but was left "massively winded", according to team principal Horner.

It was the most sensational moment of the season, reflective of the intensity of the rivalry between reigning champion Hamilton and this year's leader in the standings.

Hamilton was looking to get ahead of his rival on the inside when wheels touched and Verstappen was sent spinning off the track, Horner denouncing what he considered "a desperate move".

Horner was furious with Hamilton, whose driving was scrutinised by the stewards as the race was red-flagged, with the cars returning to the pit lane while the barrier was repaired.

Verstappen was said to have come out largely unscathed, while Hamilton received a 10-second time penalty when the race eventually resumed.

"He's gone to the medical centre for a check-up. But that's a hell of a relief to see him get out because that corner's one of the fastest on the calendar," Horner told Channel 4.

"[It was] completely out of order [for Hamilton] to stick out a wheel on the inside there. It was way too far. Every driver that's driven this circuit knows you don't stick up the inside at Copse.

"He's done it and obviously his front left has made contact with Max's right rear, on one of the fastest corners in the championship and he's put him in the fence. Thank god he's not been hurt. As you can imagine, we're pretty annoyed about things.

"I think it was a desperate move. He failed to make the move in the first part of the lap which he was obviously geared to do.

"Then it was a desperate move sticking a wheel up the inside. Copse is one of the fastest corners in the world, you don't stick a wheel up the inside, that's just dirty driving.

"That's just not on and I'm just relieved to see our driver's walked away because that could have been a very, very nasty accident."

Max Verstappen crashed out of the British Grand Prix on the first lap after a stunning collision with title rival Lewis Hamilton.

It had been a dazzling start to the race with the front-row pair going neck-and-neck in the opening corners.

They came close to making contact earlier on the lap before they finally did so at Copse Corner, Hamilton looking to overtake championship leader Verstappen on the inside but clipping the Red Bull driver's right rear wheel.

The tyre came flying off and Verstappen's car went crashing across the gravel and into the barriers at high speed.

Verstappen was able to walk away from the incident without any serious injury, but was said by team boss Christian Horner to be "massively winded".

Hamilton reported damage to his Mercedes car over the radio to his team, and told them: "I was ahead going in there, man. He turned in on me, man."

The result was that the race was red-flagged to allow for repairs to be carried out to the barriers, meaning it would have to re-start.

Lewis Hamilton thinks Mercedes will need to play "the long game" if they are to have any chance of beating Max Verstappen and Red Bull at the British Grand Prix.

The first-ever Formula One sprint race took place on Saturday, with Verstappen passing Hamilton – who had qualified fastest in a new Friday session - on the first lap and going on to win.

That means Verstappen is awarded pole position and three championship points with Hamilton and third-placed Valtteri Bottas having to settle for two and one respectively.

Hamilton is grateful to have the chance to bounce back in the main race on Sunday but is under no illusions over the size of the task facing him on home soil as Verstappen seeks a fourth consecutive F1 victory.

"Sunday is going to be tough," Hamilton, who is seeking a record eighth win at Silverstone, told reporters after the 17-lap sprint.

"He [Verstappen] had a lot of pace in him and I don't think he was particularly having to push too hard, and we were flat-out. 

"If I can try somehow to keep up with them through the stints, maybe we can apply pressure through strategy – but we're not going to be overtaking them on the track: they're just too fast. 

"So, we play the long game hopefully."

In the sprint race it was a slow start that cost Hamilton, who now trails Verstappen by 33 points.

The seven-time world champion added: "I gave it everything, it's just not good when you lose from P1. We'll try to turn the negative into a positive.

"Every point counts, but I'm grateful to have finished. We will fight again, but they're just so strong, in the race he was pulling away. There was nothing I could do to hold onto him.

"We really have to try and be in front somehow. I wish we could re-do the start again, but luckily we have it again on Sunday."

Verstappen believes Mercedes are competitive rivals for the race and the Dutchman will be outnumbered given Sergio Perez, who spun off and later retired in the sprint, will start at the back of the grid.

"What we learned on Saturday is that it's very close again," said the championship leader.

"It's a bit different. It seems like we are quick through corners, they are quick on the straight this weekend.

"The pace was alright but I still expect with a pit-stop coming into play – or two pit stops, who knows – it’s again going to be a good fight." 

Hamilton was positive about the trial changes made to the format this weekend, but thinks everything, including qualifying, should be packed in to Saturday and Sunday if a sprint becomes a permanent feature.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he added: "We should do more like that [the sprint], maybe a different version of it, in future because this makes the weekend more enjoyable I think.

"They did a great job and I think the fans enjoyed it, from what we saw on the parade laps. 

"I think this weekend's been awesome in terms of Friday, it was such a fun day to have qualifying - way more enjoyable [than practice would have been].

"It's always nice doing more races that’s for sure, but it is almost like they should almost do the sprint race on the Sunday and then the race because there could be a lot of sitting around for people on Sunday.

"It's been great to try something new - we should just do a long Saturday and long Sunday. P1, P2, qualifying on Saturday and then a sprint race and a race on Sunday. Pack it all in!

"That means we have one whole day less, 23 days actually less of driving these cars around the track and obviously that would be better in terms of going more green."

George Russell finished the sprint in ninth but has been handed a three-place grid penalty for an incident with Carlos Sainz.

He therefore drops to 12th, with Esteban Ocon, Sainz and Pierre Gasly the beneficiaries.

Max Verstappen inflicted more damage to Lewis Hamilton's Formula One title hopes as the Red Bull driver held on to win the inaugural sprint race at Silverstone.

Verstappen started in second in the trial event ahead of the British Grand Prix, but a flying first lap saw him overtake championship rival Hamilton by the first corner.

It was a lead which proved unassailable, the Dutchman cruising to a victory which sees him take pole position in Sunday's main race, as well as three championship points.

Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas ensured it was not all bad for Mercedes as they claimed second and third on the grid, while Fernando Alonso was unable to sustain a brilliant start.

Verstappen flew out of the blocks, with Hamilton unable to compensate when he attempted to skirt around the outside at the first corner, only to pull out of the manoeuvre.

Bottas was hot on the tracks of the duo, while Alonso charged up from 11th to fifth with a first lap just as impressive as Verstappen's effort.

The veteran Spaniard was unable to maintain it, though, dropping down to seventh as his soft tyres started to struggle.

Further ahead, Hamilton – who set a blistering time in Friday's qualifying session – was demanding more from his team over the radio, yet he could not close the gap on Verstappen, who held a 2.3 second lead heading into the 17th and final lap.

Hamilton managed to close in on the final straight, but Verstappen was the deserving victor in the first taster of F1's latest format tweak.

There was less luck for Verstappen's team-mate Sergio Perez, however, with the Mexican crashing on Lap 7, dropping down to 18th before Red Bull called him back to retire in the pits, meaning they have drivers bookending both ends of the grid.

Charles Leclerc came fourth, with Lando Norris capping a difficult week for him personally with an impressive drive to place himself fifth.

George Russell dropped to ninth, though faces an investigation for an early incident involving Carlos Sainz.

Lewis Hamilton paid tribute to the Silverstone crowd after beating Max Verstappen in qualifying for the British Grand Prix and securing top place on the grid for Saturday’s inaugural F1 Sprint.

Trailing Verstappen by 32 points in the Drivers’ Championship, Hamilton has the momentum at Silverstone after pipping the Dutchman to victory in Friday's qualifying session by a tenth of a second.

Mercedes have won seven of the last eight races on this track with six of those triumphs going to Hamilton, who claimed his first pole here back in 2007.

After finishing fourth in Austria, the seven-time World champion is aiming to avoid consecutive finishes outside the podium for the first time since 2017.

And inspired by the raucous home crowd, he made the ideal start in ensuring he will head the grid in the F1 Sprint.

Lando Norris admitted he is "not in perfect condition" ahead of the British Grand Prix, after he had his watch taken from his wrist in an incident after the Euro 2020 final.

Norris, who is fourth in the Formula One drivers' championship, was targeted as he walked back to his car following Italy's penalty shoot-out win over England at Wembley on Sunday.

McLaren announced on Monday their star driver was left "understandably shaken" following an incident which has been reported to the police.

However, the 21-year-old was cleared to race in his home grand prix this weekend.

Norris acknowledged, though, that the preparation has been far from ideal.

"I'm fine... but I've been better, I can say that. I'm not in perfect condition, I'm not going to lie," he told Sky Sports.

"Some work to do, mentally. Of course I talk about that a lot and mental health, and mental strength is very important. I've not been sleeping that great, and so on.

"Not ideal and I'm feeling a bit sore. But I'm not the guy in the worst position after Wembley.

"I'll work on it, I'll make sure I'm in the best shape possible and I feel like can still go out and focus on what I need to do and that's the main thing.

"I guess it's just unlucky. I don't really want to go into too much detail, but I'm thankful that I'm here.

"It's not the nicest experience for anyone to go through and it's not only me that it's happened to, it's happened to other people. It's something I don't wish upon anyone and, of course, if anyone else goes through it, I can sympathise with them and I know what they feel like."

Norris earned his third podium finish of the season last time out in Austria, and has collected points at 14 successive races. It is the best run of his F1 career.

McLaren were dealt a blow ahead of the return to Silverstone, with chief executive Zak Brown forced to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19.

McLaren chief executive Zak Brown will miss the British Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID-19, it emerged on Thursday.

Brown was one of three members of the McLaren team to return a positive test ahead of the Silverstone race weekend, but drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo have had the all-clear.

The team said in a statement: "McLaren Racing confirmed today that three team members, including CEO Zak Brown, tested positive for COVID-19 during the team’s rigorous testing programme before the British Grand Prix. Neither of our drivers are close contacts.

"All three cases are unconnected and now isolating in accordance with government guidelines. The team’s operations for the British Grand Prix are unaffected."

Brown added on his Twitter account: "I've notified all my close contacts and isolating in accordance with government guidelines. I'll still be connected to and supporting the team safely from home."

McLaren stand third in the constructors' championship, with Norris their standout performer, earning three third places among eight top-five finishes from nine races.

Ricciardo's best results have been three sixth-placed finishes and he stands eighth in the drivers' standings.

British driver Norris, fourth in the championship, will be eyeing a strong performance in this coming Sunday's race, as well as Saturday's inaugural sprint.

He was said to be "shaken" after having his expensive watch stolen after attending the Euro 2020 final last Sunday.

 

The Formula One British Grand Prix is set to take place in front of packed Silverstone grandstands after the circuit was given the go-ahead for a full-capacity event.

Last year's race took place without fans, as did a subsequent 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at the famous track, but 140,000 spectators will be allowed to attend the 2021 grand prix.

The race weekend of July 16-18 comes on the weekend before England is due to loosen its COVID-19 restrictions, and those heading to the grand prix will have to show evidence of negative tests or proof of full vaccination.

In a statement, Silverstone announced: "We are delighted to confirm that the Formula 1 Pirelli British Grand Prix 2021 has been included in the latest phase of the UK government's event research programme (ERP) allowing a full capacity crowd for the event.

"Ticket holders will be asked for either proof of a negative lateral flow test taken within 48 hours of arrival at Silverstone or proof of full vaccination, the second dose having been received at least 14 days prior to the first day of attending the British Grand Prix.

"The Silverstone team will be working closely with the ERP experts and particularly the director of public health in Northamptonshire on the specific conditions of entry that will enable the event to operate safely and will be announcing these details to ticket holders in the next 10 days."

Lewis Hamilton won last year's British Grand Prix, on his way to a record-equalling seventh drivers' title.

The Saturday of the 2021 race weekend will see the inaugural F1 Sprint take place, with a 100-kilometre race due to determine grid positions for Sunday's grand prix.

Formula One president and CEO Stefano Domenicali said: "It is fantastic news that Silverstone will be a full-capacity event and it will be an incredible weekend with hundreds of thousands of fans being there to see our first event Sprint event on the Saturday and the main event on Sunday.

"I want to express my huge appreciation to the prime minister, Boris Johnson, secretaries of state Oliver Dowden and Michael Gove and Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle for their tireless work to achieve this great outcome. All of the drivers and the teams are hugely looking forward to Silverstone and we can't wait to be there in July."

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